Another day another losing dollar. I don’t think that’s the saying, but that’s where I’m at. It’s like I have a tiny rock in my shoe as I walk around, and I can’t get it out.
Yesterday’s results are in the trash after a push and a loss, but I don’t care about yesterday. We have today, and I’m ready to get after it.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 106-110 (-3.09 U)
I’m using BetMGM lines only this year. Here’s a link to get started with a risk-free $1000 bet.
All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.
All Bullpen Screenshots are courtesy of Rotowire.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Texas Rangers @ 4:05 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Gavin Williams vs. Andrew Heaney
One of those zig-zags. I know many smart people got burned on this under yesterday with a better starting pitching matchup, and now it’s a half-run higher after a 16-run game.
The Rangers exploded yesterday with 12 runs, a now common occurrence for this potent offense. They piled it on against lesser arms in the Cleveland bullpen after it got out of hand, which ended up saving high-leverage arms for this matchup.
I really like what I’m seeing from Gavin Williams. He’s one of our top pitching prospects; check out this excerpt on his arsenal that Aram Leighton wrote at the beginning of the season.
Williams fits the description of the big-bodied power pitcher, standing at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, while he power fastball leads the way with his electric arsenal. The right-hander’s high spin fastball sits 95-97 mph with plenty of life, boasting around 19 inches of induced vertical break and some of the best fastball whiff rates in the minors.
The fastball command for Williams has gotten better as the year has progressed, throwing the pitch for a strike 70% of the time. The right-hander has a pair of impressive breaking balls, led by his plus curve that sits in the upper 70s with a ton of depth and an 11-5 break.
Though his cutterish slider is more of an above-average pitch, Williams uses the pitch frequently against righties as a weak contact inducer that he lands for a strike more frequently than his big curve. Opponents had an OPS of .369 against both of Williams’ breaking ball this year with a 35% strikeout rate.
Williams will mix in an average changeup as his fourth offering, but it can get firm on him in the 87-90 mph range. The pitch flashes above average when he feels it, showing some arm-side fade. Though not up to the standard of his other three impressive pitches, it gives Williams another look and can be an effective pitch as he gains more confidence in it.
The only area that hasn’t carried over this season is the strikeout rate, but based on his above-average Stuff+ metrics on his pitch mix and more projections calling for an above-average strikeout rate, we should start to see that carry-over soon. He’s also putting Texas in their worse split (120 wRC+ vs RHP, 134 wRC+ vs LHP).
Andrew Heaney’s main problem is the home run ball, but he’s facing a team that’s allergic to home runs. They have 62 on the year, last by a sizeable margin and 16 behind the 29th-ranked Nationals. The Guardians have an 87 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, ranking tied for third to last in baseball.
Both bullpens had the All-Star break to rest, and Cleveland didn’t use any big-time arms enough not to be available today. I make this total closer to 8, and the model has it at 8.5 (+107) as the implied odds of going over 8.5. Play the under-9 runs up to -105.
The Pick: Under 9 Runs (+100) 1 U to win 1 U
Chicago White Sox vs. Atlanta Braves @ 7:15 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Lance Lynn vs. Spencer Strider
I thought about taking the White Sox team total under because a rested Strider spells danger, but I do like Lance Lynn to be effective today.
He’s a pitcher that I’d like to target in the second half, similar to Corbin Burnes. He’s clearly not on that level, but he has been one of baseball’s unluckiest pitchers, and it starts with the home run. He’s rocking a HR/FB rate above 20%, a completely unsustainable number, and it’s double his career average. He has one of the larger differences in ERA (6.03) to xERA (4.50).
The Braves could continue to take advantage here with their massive power numbers, but they are in the worse split against right-handed pitching (116 wRC+ vs RHP, 138 wRC+ vs. LHP).
Kopech walked the world yesterday, then gave up a grand slam. An anomaly-type start that doesn’t give me any less confidence in Lynn. Lynn’s career numbers against the Braves’ current roster are sparkling, and it’s in a large enough sample to give me real confidence in him today. Through 75 PA, his opponent’s average is .136, the xwOBA is .245, and the xSLG is .271.
The xSLG is most important here, as the Braves have had a tough time hitting for extra-base hits against Lynn in the past. Sean Murphy, Marcell Ozuna, and Matt Olson are a combined 5-43 (.116 AVG) with 21 strikeouts and two extra-base hits.
Spencer Strider is back. His velocity has returned, leading to 39 strikeouts and four walks in his last four starts while only allowing four earned runs. He’s facing a White Sox team with the 28th-ranked wRC+ at 84. If he has his full arsenal on display today, he might throw a no-hitter. The White Sox won’t know what hit them.
Both bullpens didn’t use any high-leverage arms last night due to the blow-up, and this game projects to be closer due to the skill level of both starting pitchers. When both starting pitchers have high strikeout rates, it’s always smart to take a look at the under with fewer balls in play.
It should be hot today at Truist Park, in temperature in the high 70s to low 80s. However, there is wind blowing west to east which should assist in limiting power production. It’s not much, but we can point to the park and say it’s not helping the offense, even if it doesn’t necessarily help the pitchers either. It’s playing 2% below average, according to BallparkPal. That’s the fifth lowest of the day out of 15 stadiums.
The model has this line at 7.5 (-103), but I have this game capped at 8. I would take this down to 8.5 at (-105). Anything lower than that would require a lower unit size, but I do think this ends up being a much lower-scoring game than people expect